Biogas technology research in selected sub-Saharan African countries – A review

  • AM Mshandete
  • W Parawira
Keywords: Biogas research, renewable energy, anaerobic digestion, sub-Saharan Africa.

Abstract

This reviews aims to provide an insight and update of the state of biogas technology research in some selected sub-Saharan African countries in peer reviewed literature. This paper also aims to highlight
the sub-Saharan countries’ strengths and weaknesses in biogas research and development capacity. An attempt is made to pinpoint future research in critically reviewing the biogas technology research.
The methane-producing potential of various agriculturally sourced feedstocks has been researched, as has the advantages of co-digestion to improve carbon-to-nitrogen ratios and the use of pretreatment to
improve the hydrolysis rates. Some optimisation techniques associated with anaerobic digestion including basic design considerations of single or two-stage systems, pretreatment, co-digestion, environmental conditions within the reactor such as temperature, pH, buffering capacity have been attempted in some of the researches in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. However, there appears to be
little research in biogas technology in many sub-Saharan African countries in internationally peer reviewed literature. Biogas production from large quantities of agricultural residues, animal wastes,
municipal and industrial wastes (water) appears to have potential as an alternative renewable energy for many African countries if relevant and appropriate research is carried out to adopt the biogas technology to the local conditions in African countries. African scientists are urged to carry out research in biogas technology to locally demonstrate the feasibility, application, and adaptation of this technology and help improve the quality of energy supply in their respective countries.
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eISSN: 1684-5315